Imagine what a wonderful world Planet of the Apes would have been if only Charlton Heston and Dr. Zaius had shared a couple of pints at the Nimbus Brewing Company. Housed in a landscape of industrial warehouses where trains still make their passage known, Nimbus slakes the parched and fevered minds of Tucsonans with impeccable microbrews such as Dirty Guera (Southwestern-style blonde ale), Pale Ale (Northwestern-style pale ale), Red Ale (American-style amber ale), Brown Ale (American-style brown ale), the amazing Oatmeal Stout (distinct dark roasted, almost burnt-flavored stout), and Old Monkeyshine (a traditional-style English pub beer). And because man, woman and ape can't live by beer alone, no matter how hard they may try, there is a relatively decent bar menu and live concerts that make Nimbus much more than the brewery-on-a-loading-dock it was when the doors first opened in 1996. Yet despite the changes, Nimbus still retains its hip urban/industrial space ambiance. You can also join the prestigious Legion of Nimbus for a mere $1,000 initial fee ($25 per a year after three years). Legionnaires not only purchase one unit of ownership in the company, but they also get perks such as a free daily pint from a special mug, a T-shirt and discounts on all things Nimbus. Nimbus beer: two opposable thumbs up.
Thunder Canyon Brewery, 7401 N. La Cholla Blvd., 797-2652
3. Gentle Ben's Brewing Company, 865 E. University Blvd., 624-4177
Unclear on the concept: Starbucks, one vote